OpinionMiddle East

Iran’s jihad against the West

Iran’s ayatollahs, who have been courted and appeased by the West, are committed to bringing the West—and especially “the Great American Satan”—into submission.

Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh meets with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran. Source: Screenshot.
Hamas chief Ismail Haniyeh meets with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran. Source: Screenshot.
Yoram Ettinger
Yoram Ettinger
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said in an Oct. 10 White House press briefing: “Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years. And all of that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen [on Oct. 7].”

Iran’s ayatollahs, who have been courted and appeased by the West, are committed to bringing the West—and especially “the Great American Satan”—into submission. They are the chief architects and enablers of the Israel-Hamas and Israel-Hezbollah wars, and are determined to escalate them into a regional pandemonium, which would undermine Western interests.

Iran considers its military and financial support of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists—as well as of many terror entities in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America—to be a means of fueling instability, toppling pro-U.S. regimes and severely downgrading America’s strategic posture. Therefore, Iran has been—since the 1980s—an epicenter of global anti-U.S. terrorism, drug trafficking and weapons proliferation. Iran’s rogue foreign and national security policy has been matched by its rogue domestic policy, which has been replete with ruthless oppression and suppression of its population in general, and of religious and ethnic minorities, and especially women, in particular.

However, irrespective of this rogue policy, the United States adheres to the diplomatic option, which has bolstered the ayatollahs’ global posture since their ascension to power in 1979. Moreover, the U.S. response to sustained Iranian attacks on American installations in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Syria has been restrained, further eroding its posture of deterrence. Furthermore, the United States has lifted most sanctions against the rogue ayatollahs and is eagerly seeking another nuclear accord with Tehran.

The lifting of most sanctions without congressional consent—especially on the exportation of oil and natural gas—has enabled Iran to supply Hezbollah, Hamas and additional terror organizations and drug traffickers with more advanced military systems (e.g., missiles, drones, electronics and explosives), to the detriment of the United States and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

According to the Washington Institute, “Iran’s oil exports have increased more than threefold over the past 3 years, a consequence of relaxed US sanctions enforcement…. US sanctions imposed in 2018 and 2019 severely constricted Iranian exports of crude oil. Exports fell well below 500,000 barrels per day from a pre-sanctions peak of 2.7 million barrels per day…. Even though negotiations to revive the nuclear agreement have failed, Iran’s oil exports continue to increase, as Washington opts not to enforce the sanctions.  As of September 2023, Iranian exports are estimated at close to 1.5 million barrels per day or higher [at the current $90 per barrel, at least $50 billion annual income].”

According to Reuters, as of Aug. 31, 2023, Iran exported 3.15 million barrels per day.

Iran’s narco-jihad against the United States

Recently, Iran’s ayatollahs and their Hezbollah proxy have stepped up their drug trafficking, money laundering and terror activities. They have expanded collaboration with Mexico’s drug cartels (e.g., Los Zetas and Sinaloa), training them in car bombings and smuggling narcotics across the border to the United States. This is an extension of their Latin American narco-terror operation, which is centered in the tri-border areas of Argentina-Paraguay-Brazil, as well as Chile-Peru-Bolivia.

The ayatollahs and Hezbollah leaders have concluded that narcotics trafficking may be more effective than guns in bringing the Western “infidel” to submission.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Iran and Hezbollah have established close collaboration with drug cartels in Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil [and the Albanian Mafia] exporting cocaine to the United States and Europe, and have developed sophisticated money laundering schemes through Lebanon. They have managed to smuggle illegal immigrants from the Middle East into the United States, bolstering their terrorist and drug trafficking infrastructure in the country.

Venezuela has been an effective gateway for Iran into South, Central and North America, issuing false passports to Iranian and Hezbollah terror and drug trafficking operatives. It has also provided Iran with a business and military foothold close to the shores of “the Great American Satan.”  The heavy air traffic between Iran and Venezuela has not been due to tourists. 

Iran’s fanatic vision transcends Israel

According to Yaron Friedman, a Haifa University expert on Islam and the Middle East, the driving force behind Iran’s ayatollahs is a 1,400-year-old vision which transcends economics and politics and is not centered on Israel, but on the world at large, with a focus on the “infidel” West.

The root of the ayatollahs’ vision is the 680 C.E. Battle of Karbala—a supreme Islamic milestone—which featured the murder of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammad and the third Shi’ite Imam, by Yazid, the Sunni Caliph. For Shi’ite Islam—as in the Middle East, which cherishes history and memory—it has been a living memory, commemorated annually during Ashura processions by Shi’ite communities worldwide, during which bare-chested men flagellate their bleeding backs and chests.

The Battle of Karbala has become a permanent call for Shi’ite martyrdom, sacrifice and revenge, leading to an intrinsic Sunni-Shi’ite conflict, religiously and militarily, which is still a major force breeding turbulence among Muslims. The Sunni majority is convinced that the Shi’ite minority is trying to rule Islam and wreak vengeance for the 680 C.E. betrayal—as almost happened from the mid-10th century to the mid-11th century, and also during the 16th century, when Iran accepted Shi’ite Islam and became a major power.

Since February 1979, when the ayatollahs (assisted by the United States) ascended to power in Tehran, Iran has been preoccupied with the global exportation of the Karbala-driven Shi’ite Islamic revolution, aiming to topple every “apostate” (Sunni), “modern-day Yazid” regime and bring the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan,” into unconditional submission, peacefully or otherwise.

The nature of Iran’s fanatic, megalomaniacal, apocalyptic vision—and the 43-year-old rogue track record of the ayatollahs—reveal that the ayatollahs are not amenable to good-faith negotiation, peaceful coexistence or exchanging their 1,400-year-old vision for a financial/diplomatic bonanza.  

Originally published by the Ettinger Report.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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